‘Alexa, add my favorite yogurt to my list’

As grocery e-commerce gets more personal, Diego Maniloff of Unata says it’s time for retailers to turn their efforts to voice recognition technology.

2017 has been an incredible year for grocery retail. Companies like Amazon and Walmart are relentlessly innovating ways to heighten convenience and strengthen the presence of digital in grocery shopping, and it’s challenging other retailers to do the same. As we enter this new competitive era of grocery shopping, retailers should turn their attention to a technology that has the power to truly revolutionize the way we shop: voice technology.

It is estimated that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be done by voice alone. With consumer adoption already underway, it won’t be long before smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Home become our go-to for search, inspiration and, most importantly, shopping. As consumer habits and expectations shift with the rise of voice technology, so must grocery retail.

However, voice assistants pose an interesting challenge. Unlike smartphones, computers and tablets, they lack a visual interface and for that reason they are unforgiving when it comes to accuracy of results. Gone are the days of shopper patience when sifting through search results. Sitting and listening to a voice assistant list over 20 different varieties of apples will feel drawn out, painful, and to be honest, incredibly frustrating.

Diego Maniloff

For that reason alone, personalization is paramount. To provide a seamless customer experience, grocers need to understand two things. First, there is only one answer. Second, you need to draw on past behaviors and orders to get that one answer right. Consider this: Your shopper realizes she’s out of yogurt, so she asks her voice assistant to add more to her shopping list. Enter your personalization engine. Instead of asking which yogurt your shopper prefers or listing available options, the voice assistant can confirm in one response that her favorite yogurt — which she purchases on a regular basis — has been added to her list.

Read more at Food Dive: https://www.fooddive.com/news/grocery–alexa-add-my-favorite-yogurt-to-my-list/512355/

Diego Maniloff is the vice president of tech innovation at Unata, the leading provider in 1-to-1 digital solutions for grocers. He is a computer scientist from Argentina specialized in the art of personalization technologies. He received his BS/MEng degrees in Telecommunications Engineering from Universidad Blas Pascal in Córdoba, and upon becoming a Fulbright scholar he joined the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. After completion of his MS, Diego became a research fellow at MIT, focusing on applied AI and data analysis. At Unata, Diego led the engineering team for five years, during which he built the award-winning personalization engine from scratch. Today, he oversees research and development of emerging technologies that have the potential to shape the digital grocery industry.Learn more at www.unata.com.

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